News In Brief
The prospect of an emergency unity government in Israel was being raised by a senior political leader, who said Likud movement chief Ariel Sharon had agreed in principle to join forces with Prime Minister Ehud Barak. There was no immediate confirmation, and other reports said Sharon again had rebuffed overtures from Barak for an alliance. If accurate, however, the claim was likely to influence debate just beginning in parliament on legislation that would force an early election and perhaps the demise of Barak's government. (Related story, page 1.)
NATO mediators said they'd won agreement from Serb forces to join ethnic Albanian militants in extending their cease-fire indefinitely. The truce - in a disputed valley in southern Serbia - was to have expired Friday. But a senior minister in the transition government of new President Vojislav Kostunica said he knew of no such deal, and an Army commander was claiming that the militants had launched new incursions into the valley they seek to unite with heavily Albanian Kosovo. (Story, page 6.)
Seven more people died and eight others were wounded by security patrols in Indian territory in Kashmir despite a unilateral cease-fire that was in its first day. An Indian statement said the casualties were "infiltrators" who had fired first. The incident was the third since the truce was called by the New Delhi government because of the Islamic holy month, Ramadan. Earlier, three soldiers died when militants blew up a truck in which they were riding.
Voters in Canada gave Prime Minister Jean Chretien and his ruling Liberal Party a third consecutive majority in Monday's election - a feat unmatched since the 1940s. The Liberals increased their share of seats in the lower house of Parliament from 161 to 172, out of 301. The opposition Alliance, which had hoped to unseat the Liberals, won only two seats in Ontario, the prime minister's most dependable power base. But the biggest surprise, analysts said, was Quebec, where the separatist Bloc Quebecois lost seven of its 44 seats, easing concerns over another possible independence referendum.
Plotting a dictatorship "is not on my agenda," Haiti's likely president-elect told a news conference in Port-au-Prince. In addition to trying to counter the concerns of political opponents that he'd seek to make himself president-for-life, Jean-Bertrand Aristide also appealed to wary business leaders and international investors to trust him to "bring peace to everyone ... as long as you are Haitian." Still, opposition parties vowed to conduct a campaign of demonstrations and other civil disobedience to discredit the ex-president's return to power.
By a 104-to-40 vote, the lower house of parliament in the Netherlands OK'd the legalizing of euthanasia. Approval in the upper house when the measure comes to a vote there - probably next year - is seen as a formality. Physician-assisted suicides have been tolerated in the Netherlands for decades, but the move makes the nation the first to institutionalize them.
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